Former premier Moussavi challenges Ahmadinejad in election

Former premier Moussavi challenges Ahmadinejad in election Tehran - Moderate Iranian presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Moussavi on Monday accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of being a radical, particularly in foreign policy.

In his first news conference in Tehran, the former prime minister accused the hardline president of radical policies that "severely harmed our national interests."

"Extremism brings heavy costs for us, such as chanting harshly worded slogans and at the same time talking about friendship with Israeli nation," he said.

Moussavi, who apparently enjoy supports from major reformist groups in the June 12 presidential elections, is running against Ahmadinejad and another reformist figure and former parliament speaker, Mehdi Karrubi.

Explaining why he decided to run for president despite declining invitations by reformist groups in the past elections, Moussavi said, "There might be extremism in every period but next administrations could later modify them. But it seems rules and laws are distorted these days."

In recent years, Ahmadinejad has caused international uproars by calling for the elimination of Israel from the map of the Middle East, relocating Israel's Jews to Europe or America and doubting the historic dimensions of the massacre of Jews during World War II, calling the Holocaust a "fairy tale."

"Sometimes anti-Western slogans are too much exposed in our comments in which we need to send messages and letters for modifying them," Moussavi said, citing Ahmadinejad's letters sent to the US, German and French heads of state. (dpa)